Tag: poetry

William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Martha Keith Schuchard

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William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith SchuchardWilliam Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith SchuchardWilliam Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Martha Keith Schuchard Inner Traditions, 9781594772115, 415 pp., 2006, 2008This is the first US edition of a book originally published in 2006 in the UK. It had its origin in scholarly research but has been diminished in size and complexity, although not in quality, to produce a book more likely to appeal to a non-academic audience.There is a large amount of background data provided on the subject of 18th and 19th century esoterica. This is important to provide a solid base for the understanding of William Blake and his works.As I have commented in previous  reviews of books issued by Inner Traditions, this is not a book for the casual reader. It presupposes a certain level of familiarity with the general topic right from the outset. If you know nothing about William Blake or the esoteric milieu of his time, you will find yourself playing catch-up from the start. Read More

Dancing God, by Diotima

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Dancing God: Poetry Of Myths And Magicks, by Diotima Neos Alexandrian, 9781438210643, 197 pp., 2008This is the second book issued by Bibliotheca Alexandrina in an attempt to promote the revival of traditional polytheistic religions through publication of a series of books dedicated to the ancient gods of Greece and Egypt (although the contents are not restricted to those two cultures). I reviewed the previous book Written in Wine earlier. Both of these books are primarily composed of poetry (Written in Wine has a few stories as well), although this book is primarily the work of a single author.The title of this book refers to Pan, although numerous other deities make an appearance on these pages. Most of the poems are very short, but there are occasional longer works as well.There are occasional Read More

Written in Wine, by Bibliotheca Alexandria

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Written In Wine: A Devotional Anthology For Dionysos, by Bibliotheca Alexandrina Neos Alexandrina, 9781434836731, 220 pp., 2007This work, a collection of thought by modern worshippers of Dionysos, includes essays, poetry, rituals and fiction as well as personal accounts of experiences. There are over 50 contributions by more than 30 writers.The Bibliotheca Alexandrina exists as a non-profit organization dedicated to re-establishing the worship of Hellenistic and Kemetic gods. Every book purchased, and there will a series of them forthcoming, furthers that goal. If you are willing to put your money to a good cause, this is one well worth supporting. Neos Alexandrian, the publisher, is helping to re-establish the Library of Alexandria, one book at a time.This collection starts off with a short story…a piece of fiction. Or is it fiction? Might it have been a privileged channelling of Dionysos’ thoughts following the horrors of Hurricane Katrina’s damage to a city where his revels were a vital part of daily life?  Read More

Review: Refuge, by Diotima

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Refuge, by Soror Diotima Refuge: Tales of Myth and Magick, by Soror Diotima Konton Publishing, 490346203X, 223 pp., 2005When was the last time you licked up a book of myths? How about a book which retells myths in a new and novel (although not necessarily modern) way? Well, you’ve got one in your hands right now. And that’s not all. The stories are interspersed with poetry. Both are seemingly simple creations, but they are in actuality much more.They work on multiple levels – they entertain; they convey older knowledge; and they stimulate your thought processes. These tales of myth and magick are a pleasure to read.Oh, there are occasional Read More

Review: The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry, edited by Cynthia Joyce Clay, et al.

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The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry, edited by Cynthia Joyce Clay, Delight Clay and Raymond T. Anderson
Oestara Publishing LLC, 127 pp. (incl. index)

According to their website, Oestara Publishing is a co-operative publishing group made up of Pagans who read, edit, and work with one another’s writing to produce Pagan books, from poetry to fiction.

A Pagan poetry contest was held, consisting of two categories, free verse and traditional form verse. Each category had cash prizes for the top three winners, though I could not find the exact dates it ran, the results were published in 2005 in this little book, The Oestara Anthology of Poetry. Other contestants, who did not win the prize money, but whose poetry was felt to be of sufficient quality, also had their work included in this anthology, winning, in effect, a chance to be published.

The introduction details each of the traditional forms used, explains the judges’ weighting system, and establishes who each of the three judges were, Cynthia Joyce Clay, Delight Clay, and Raymond T. Anderson, who also served as the anthology’s editors.

The winners of each category are given in sequence with judges’ commentary directly following each finalist’s winning entry, though the formatting of their observations could have used some adjusting.

I found with no separation between poem and judges’ remarks it broke the flow and did not allow for sufficient time to settle the reader’s own impressions, to really feel each poems worth. As a result, each of the winning poems were immediately coloured by three opinions before one’s own could be formed. I would have preferred to see the poems stand on their own merit, with judges’ commentary being an added bonus tucked away in an appendix, where a deeper look at their judging process could have been more fully formed. As it stands, it seems jagged and jarring.

Following the two sections for winners, several other contestants’ poems are showcased, with numerous poems by the same author, and lone poems, flowing into one another, arranged alphabetically by author’s surname, and also broken into two sections, Free Verse and Traditional Poetic Forms. Several of these are also quite good, and others are imperfect, but beautiful in their vibrant imagery and earnestness.

There are some truly beautiful poems here, Last Ferry, by Cis Staubach, and Banishing, by Julia Swiggum particularly, from the winning contestants.

There are others that were equally beautiful from other entrants, such as Bog Oak, by Stephen Mead, and Recognizing Kali in a Young Girl, by Adam Byrn Tritt, both found in Free Verse, which are two of my favourites.

The poems all follow Pagan themes, some invocations and charges (Charge of the God, by Julia Swiggum, who placed third in the Free Verse category, is a beautiful example of this), others on different festivals, with Samhain being a particular favourite, it seems. Others are more thoughtful, such as The Trouble with God, by Robin Renee, the last lines which run: Krishna, was it really you who said / that each man must do his duty, thus the warrior / must make war? / What did you mean by that? / And isn’t it time you found the warrior / a better job?

Afterwards, two of the judges give examples of their poems, and then each of the three follow up with brief essays of advice, further evaluations and detail their thoughts on Pagan poetry and poetry in general.

The technical aspects of the book are lacking, with inconsistent formatting, odd breaks and errors with punctuation floating throughout the text, but that aside, this is a neat little anthology, and I hope to see more on this theme.

First published on Suite101.com on 12 June 2006. (Unfortunately.)

Review: Cthuloid Dreams, by DJ Lawrence

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Cthuloid Dreams: A Collection of Occult Poetry, by DJ Lawrence
Chaosmagic.com, 115 pp., 2004

Inspired and influenced by the Discordianism, Lovecraft mythos and Setianism, DJ Lawrence has compiled a collection of poetry gathered over the years.

Often lyrical with delightful turns of phrase, Lawrence seems taken with decidedly darker themes, with titles such as ‘Bitter’, ‘Set’, ‘Death’, ‘Necronomicon’, and of course, the title-poem ‘Cthuloid Dreams’.

This is a neat collection of more than sixty short poems, whose evocative imagery would lend itself well to inclusion in darker themed rites.

Cthuloid Dreams
can be purchased exclusively from Chaosmagic.com’s online store.

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